Contact: Michael Metallo
National Gardening Association
(800) 538-7476, ext. 123
Gardener's Supply Company (802)660-3500
South Burlington, Vermont (February 13, 2009) - The National Gardening Association (NGA) announces the 9th annual Healthy Sprouts Awards, sponsored by Gardener's Supply Company.
The award program supports youth gardens that focus on nutrition education and on creating awareness about hunger in local communities. NGA will choose 20 top school programs to receive gift cards to Gardener's Supply Company along with garden curriculum packages.
Research tells us, school garden programs work to fight poor health and nutrition in young people, said Mike Metallo NGA president. Statistics show that in many U.S. neighborhoods you'll find children who are overweight and others wondering where their next meal will come from; many are not getting the right balance of nutrients in their diets or enough exercise. Research conducted at Texas A&M University supports the connection between kids' food gardens and improved nutrition, indicating that gardens can play a major role in solving the diet- and exercise-related challenges children face. Garden programs also help youth understand the complexity of our food system and introduce them to a proactive solution for alleviating the problem of food insecurity.
″Our gardening program was a great success for all involved. The youth enjoyed every moment they spent in the garden,″ says Melissa Wyatt, Garden Coordinator for the Foundation of Second Chances in Los Angeles, California. In addition to expanding their nutritional knowledge, ″the program has increased our students' awareness of community service and community giving. They have gained self-confidence, motivation, and team leadership skills that will last a lifetime.″
NGA president Mike Metallo notes that the impact on Melissa's students isn't unique. ″Many published studies indicate that gardens are a boon to children's overall health and wellness. Kids who participate in gardening programs connect to the environment and to their communities; develop social skills such as cooperation and leadership; achieve higher test scores; and have improved attention, focus, and self-esteem. Plus, they like to eat the nutritious vegetables and fruits they grow!″
To be eligible for the Healthy Sprouts Awards, a school or organization must plan to garden in 2010 with at least 15 children between the ages of 3 and 18. To be selected, applicants must demonstrate how their garden program will enhance participants' nutrition knowledge and attitudes and their awareness of hunger issues in the United States. Applications are available on the Kidsgardening.org Web site.
About the Sponsors
Gardener's Supply Company was founded in 1983 by a handful of enthusiastic Vermont gardeners. Today, they serve millions of gardeners nationwide, offering products from seed-starting supplies to garden furniture. To learn more about how Gardener's Supply Company is improving the world through gardening, visit www.gardeners.com.
Founded in 1973, the National Gardening Association is a national nonprofit leader in plant-based education, respected for its award-winning Web sites and newsletters, grants and curricula for youth gardens, and research for the lawn and garden industry. NGA advances the personal, community, and educational benefits of gardening by supporting gardeners and teachers with information and resources. To learn more about gardening with children and youth, please visit www.kidsgardening.org.